18 Items Looted from Egyptian Museum

Posted on February 13, 2011

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Wooden Tutankhamun

Eighteen days of riots in Egypt has left the Egyptian Museum short of the same number of pieces, with two wooden carvings of Tutankhamun among the missing.  AP reports:

On Jan. 28, as protesters clashed with police early on in the turmoil and burned down the adjacent headquarters of Mubarak’s ruling party, a handful of looters climbed a fire escape to the museum roof and lowered themselves on ropes from a glass-paneled ceiling onto the museum’s top floor.

Around 70 objects — many of them small statues — were damaged, but until Sunday’s announcement, it was not known whether anything was missing.

Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass said the museum’s database department determined 18 objects were gone. Investigators searching for those behind the thefts were questioning dozens of people arrested over several days after last month’s break-in…

On Sunday, the museum director and an architect walked around the roof of the 110-year-old building to draw up designs for upgrading security on the glass-paneled sections of the ceiling.

“We can’t interfere with the original architecture of the building because it’s a monument,” el-Awady said. “But we are thinking about how to upgrade this and put in a new security system for the ceiling of the museum.”

The security of Egypt’s museums and archaeological sites came under scrutiny after the theft in August of a Van Gogh from an art museum in Cairo. El-Awady said the Egyptian Museum’s alarms and other security systems were working during the looting.

The thieves caused considerable damage, breaking 13 display cases and tossing aside ancient objects in what museum staff believe was a frenzied search for gold.

Read the full article here: 18 items missing from Egyptian Museum after unrest.

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